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Flutter Entertainment announced mixed H1 results

London-listed betting and gaming operator William Hill has reported a 1 per cent increase in net revenue to £811.7m (€880.2m) for the first half of 2019, with growth from its online and US businesses offsetting a decline in Retail.

Retail remains the main source of income for William Hill, accounting for 48 per cent of overall revenue, despite revenue from this part of the business slipping 12 per cent year-on-year to £391.5m. The company has continued to feel the hit from the new Fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) maximum stake limit, which on April 1 dropped to £2 per spin, compared to the previous maximum of £100. William Hill has already taken action to combat this change, last month setting out plans to close 700 of its shops across the UK.

William Hill’s online business closed the gap on retail by posting £367.3m in net revenue for the first half, up 14 per cent on last year and accounting for 45 per cent of total group revenue for the period. The company was boosted by a stronger performance by its international business, with revenue jumping 66 per cent to £122.4m.

William Hill currently enjoys a strong presence in the US, having a foothold in eight states, with two more to go live imminently. The company US division was responsible for 7% of all revenue in the first half.

Although the bookmaker was able to report a gross profit of £614.5m in H1, up from £606.3m in the same period last year, the cut in FOBT stakes and spending on US expansion pushed adjusted profit before interest and tax down 33 per cent from £113.6m to £76.2m.

“In retail we took the tough decision to announce a consultation process over the proposed closure of around 700 shops to protect the long-term future of the business following the introduction of the £2 stake limit. We are becoming more diversified with non-UK markets now contributing a third of online revenues, up from just 24% last year. We continue to expand rapidly in the US, both in Nevada and in the new states,” stated William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock.

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